Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Skip to content

Din & Daf: A (Biblical) Loan is Tzedakah – Mashkon Limitations

Din & Daf: Conceptual Analysis of Halakha Through Case Study with Dr. Elana Stein Hain

משכון

In this shiur, we will examine some of the limitations that the Torah places on lenders towards those who borrow money from them through the halakhot of mashkon. This will give us a sense of how lending money is meant to be a type of tzedakah rather than a cold business transaction.

Dr. Elana Stein Hain – dinanddaf@hadran.org.il

Printable sources

Bava Metzia general concept: Mashkon

Listen here:

Watch here:

Sources:

  • שמות כב:כד-כו

אִם־כֶּ֣סֶף ׀ תַּלְוֶ֣ה אֶת־עַמִּ֗י אֶת־הֶֽעָנִי֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹא־תִהְיֶ֥ה ל֖וֹ כְּנֹשֶׁ֑ה לֹֽא־תְשִׂימ֥וּן עָלָ֖יו נֶֽשֶׁךְ׃

If/When you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, do not act toward them as a creditor; exact no interest from them.

 

אִם־חָבֹ֥ל תַּחְבֹּ֖ל שַׂלְמַ֣ת רֵעֶ֑ךָ עַד־בֹּ֥א הַשֶּׁ֖מֶשׁ תְּשִׁיבֶ֥נּוּ לֽוֹ׃

If you take your neighbor’s garment in pledge, you must return it before the sun sets;

 

כִּ֣י הִ֤וא כסותה [כְסוּתוֹ֙] לְבַדָּ֔הּ הִ֥וא שִׂמְלָת֖וֹ לְעֹר֑וֹ בַּמֶּ֣ה יִשְׁכָּ֔ב וְהָיָה֙ כִּֽי־יִצְעַ֣ק אֵלַ֔י וְשָׁמַעְתִּ֖י כִּֽי־חַנּ֥וּן אָֽנִי׃ 

it is the only available clothing—it is what covers the skin. In what else shall [your neighbor] sleep? Therefore, if that person cries out to Me, I will pay heed, for I am compassionate.

  • דברים כד:ו

לֹא־יַחֲבֹ֥ל רֵחַ֖יִם וָרָ֑כֶב כִּי־נֶ֖פֶשׁ ה֥וּא חֹבֵֽל׃     

A handmill or an upper millstone shall not be taken in pawn, for that would be taking someone’s life in pawn.

  • דברים כד: י-יד

כִּֽי־תַשֶּׁ֥ה בְרֵֽעֲךָ֖ מַשַּׁ֣את מְא֑וּמָה לֹא־תָבֹ֥א אֶל־בֵּית֖וֹ לַעֲבֹ֥ט עֲבֹטֽוֹ׃

When you make a loan of any sort to your compatriot, you must not enter the house to seize the pledge.

בַּח֖וּץ תַּעֲמֹ֑ד וְהָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ נֹשֶׁ֣ה ב֔וֹ יוֹצִ֥יא אֵלֶ֛יךָ אֶֽת־הַעֲב֖וֹט הַחֽוּצָה׃

You must remain outside, while the party to whom you made the loan brings the pledge out to you.

 

וְאִם־אִ֥ישׁ עָנִ֖י ה֑וּא לֹ֥א תִשְׁכַּ֖ב בַּעֲבֹטֽוֹ׃

If that party is needy, you shall not go to sleep in that pledge;

 

הָשֵׁב֩ תָּשִׁ֨יב ל֤וֹ אֶֽת־הַעֲבוֹט֙ כְּב֣וֹא הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ וְשָׁכַ֥ב בְּשַׂלְמָת֖וֹ וּבֵֽרְכֶ֑ךָּ וּלְךָ֙ תִּהְיֶ֣ה צְדָקָ֔ה לִפְנֵ֖י ה’ אֱ-לֹהֶֽיךָ׃ 

you must return the pledge at sundown, that its owner may sleep in the cloth and bless you; and it will be to your merit before your God.

  • דברים כד:יז

לֹ֣א תַטֶּ֔ה מִשְׁפַּ֖ט גֵּ֣ר יָת֑וֹם וְלֹ֣א תַחֲבֹ֔ל בֶּ֖גֶד אַלְמָנָֽה׃

You shall not subvert the rights of the stranger or the fatherless; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pawn.

 

וְזָכַרְתָּ֗ כִּ֣י עֶ֤בֶד הָיִ֙יתָ֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם וַֽיִּפְדְּךָ֛  ה’ אֱ-לֹהֶ֖יךָ מִשָּׁ֑ם עַל־כֵּ֞ן אָנֹכִ֤י מְצַוְּךָ֙ לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת אֶת־הַדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּֽה׃    

Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that your God redeemed you from there; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment.

 

 שליח בית דין The Court Emissary 

 

א. ספר החינוך מצוה תקפה – שלא למשכן בעל חוב בזרוע

מִשָּׁרְשֵׁי הַמִּצְוָה. כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יְהוּ בְּנֵי אָדָם כְּהֶפְקֵר וְיִרְבֶּה הֶחָמָס בָּאָרֶץ, שֶׁהַגָּדוֹל יִהְיֶה בּוֹלֵעַ הַקָּטָן וִימַשְׁכֵּן אוֹתוֹ בִּזְרוֹעַ מִבְּלִי פַּחַד אֵלָיו, וְהַקָּטָן לֹא יוּכַל לָקַחַת דִּינוֹ מִן הַגָּדוֹל מִפַּחְדּוֹ אֵלָיו לְמַעֲלָתוֹ, וְעַל כֵּן הִשְׁוָה הַכָּתוּב בֵּינֵיהֶם שֶׁלֹּא יְמַשְׁכֵּן אֶחָד מֵהֶן אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ עַל חוֹבוֹ, אֶלָּא יַעֲשֶׂה הַכֹּל עַל פִּי הַדַּיָּן, וּבָזֶה יִהְיֶה תִּקּוּן יִשּׁוּב הָעוֹלָם, כְּחֵפֶץ הַשֵּׁם שֶׁבְּרָאוֹ לְהִתְיַשֵּׁב.

It is from the roots of the commandments [that it is] so that people not be as if abandoned and violence increase in the land; that the big one swallow up the small one and take surety from him by force without fear of him, and that the small one not be able to get his case against the big one from fear of his stature. And so, the verse equalized them, such that one not take surety for his debt from his fellow, but rather that it all be done according to the law. And thus, there will there be a betterment in the civilization of the world — as is the desire of its Creator, that it be [properly] inhabited.

 

ב. בבא מציעא קיג.-:

תָּא שְׁמַע: מִמַּשְׁמַע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ״בַּחוּץ תַּעֲמֹד״ אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁ״הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה נוֹשֶׁה בוֹ יוֹצִיא״! אֶלָּא מָה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר ״וְהָאִישׁ״ – לְרַבּוֹת שְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין. מַאי לָאו: שְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין כְּלֹוֶה?

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a different baraita that contradicts Shmuel: From the implication of that which is stated: “You shall stand outside,” do I not know that: “And the man to whom you lend shall bring forth outside” (Deuteronomy 24:11)? Rather, why must the verse state the inclusive phrase “And the man to whom you lend shall bring forth outside”? This serves to include the agent of the court. The Gemara comments: What, is it not that the agent of the court has the same status as the debtor himself, indicating that just as the debtor may enter his own house at any time, the court agent may act likewise?

 

לָא, שְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין כְּמַלְוֶה.

The Gemara responds: No, the agent of the court is considered like the creditor, who must wait outside for the debtor to deliver his collateral.

 

תָּא שְׁמַע: ״אִם חָבֹל תַּחְבֹּל שַׂלְמַת רֵעֶךָ״ – בִּשְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין הַכָּתוּב מְדַבֵּר. אַתָּה אוֹמֵר בִּשְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין הַכָּתוּב מְדַבֵּר, אוֹ אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא בְּבַעַל חוֹב? כְּשֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר ״לֹא תָבֹא אֶל בֵּיתוֹ לַעֲבֹט עֲבֹטוֹ״ – הֲרֵי בַּעַל חוֹב אָמוּר, הָא מָה אֲנִי מְקַיֵּים ״אִם חָבֹל תַּחְבֹּל שַׂלְמַת רֵעֶךָ״ – בִּשְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין הַכָּתוּב מְדַבֵּר!

Come and hear that which the Sages taught: The verse states: “If you take as collateral your neighbor’s garment, you shall restore it to him until the sun goes down” (Exodus 22:25). The verse is speaking of an agent of the court. Do you say that the verse is speaking of an agent of the court, or perhaps it is referring only to a creditor? When it says: “You shall not go into his house to take his collateral” (Deuteronomy 24:10), the case of a creditor is thereby stated. How then do I realize the meaning of the verse: “If you take as collateral your neighbor’s garment”? The verse is speaking of an agent of the court. This indicates that an agent of the court has permission to take collateral.

 

ג. ירושלמי בבא מציעא ט:יב, לה.

פֵּירַשׁ רִבִּי סִימַאי. דְּבַר תּוֹרָה שֶׁיְּהֵא שָׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין נִכְנַס וְגוֹבֶה בְּבֵינוֹנִית. שֶׁאִם יִכָּנֵס הַמַּלְוֶה הֲרֵי הוּא מוֹצִיא הַיָּפֶה. וְאִם יִכָּנֵס הַלּוֹוֶה מוֹצִיא הָרַע. אֶלָּא שָׁלוּחַ בֵּית דִּין נִכְנַס וְגוֹבֶה בְּבֵינוֹנִית.

Rebbi Simai explained: It is a word of the Torah that the court’s bailiff enter and collect from average quality. For if the creditor enter, he would bring out the best. And if the debtor enter, he would bring out the worst. But the court’s bailiff enters and collects from average quality.

 

The financial responsibility of the lender for the collateral – בעל חוב קונה משכון

 

ד. בבא מציעא פב.

דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: מִנַּיִן לְבַעַל חוֹב שֶׁקּוֹנֶה מַשְׁכּוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וּלְךָ תִּהְיֶה צְדָקָה״. אִם אֵינוֹ קוֹנֶה מַשְׁכּוֹן, צְדָקָה מְנָא לֵיהּ? מִכָּאן לְבַעַל חוֹב שֶׁקּוֹנֶה מַשְׁכּוֹן.

As Rabbi Yitzḥak says: From where is it derived that a creditor acquires collateral given to him and is considered its owner as long as the item is in his possession? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “You shall return the pledge to him when the sun goes down that he may sleep in his garment, and bless you; and it shall be a righteousness for you before the Lord your God” (Exodus 24:13). Rabbi Yitzḥak infers: If the creditor does not acquire the collateral, then from where is the righteousness involved in returning it? In this case, the creditor would not be giving up anything of his own. From here it is derived that a creditor acquires the collateral.

 

ה. בבא מציעא קיד.

אִיבְרָא עֲלֵיהּ קָרְמֵי, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וּלְךָ תִּהְיֶה צְדָקָה״.

Indeed, the debtor’s needs are cast upon him, because it is stated in connection with this same issue of returning the collateral: “And it shall be righteousness to you” (Deuteronomy 24:13), which indicates that there is an obligation for the creditor to act toward the debtor with righteousness.

 

ו. בבא מציעא קטו.

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: אַלְמָנָה, בֵּין שֶׁהִיא עֲנִיָּיה בֵּין שֶׁהִיא עֲשִׁירָה – אֵין מְמַשְׁכְּנִין אוֹתָהּ, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי יְהוּדָה. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר: עֲשִׁירָה – מְמַשְׁכְּנִין אוֹתָהּ, עֲנִיָּיה – אֵין מְמַשְׁכְּנִין אוֹתָהּ. שֶׁאַתָּה חַיָּיב לְהַחֲזִיר לַהּ, וְאַתָּה מַשִּׂיאָהּ שֵׁם רַע בִּשְׁכֵנוֹתֶיהָ.

 

The Importance of Returning the Collateral Every Night – השב תשיב

 

ד. בבא מציעא לא:

״הָשֵׁב תָּשִׁיב״, אֵין לִי אֶלָּא שֶׁמִּשְׁכְּנוֹ בִּרְשׁוּת בֵּית דִּין. מִשְׁכְּנוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת בֵּית דִּין, מִנַּיִן? תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר: ״הָשֵׁב תָּשִׁיב״, מִכׇּל מָקוֹם.

With regard to an item that a poor person needs, e.g., a blanket, that a lender took as collateral when lending him money, it is written: “You shall restore [hashev tashiv] to him the pledge when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his garment, and bless you; and it shall be righteousness for you before the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 24:13). I have derived only the obligation to return his garment each night in a case where the lender took collateral with the sanction of the court. From where do I derive the obligation to return his garment each night even in a case where the lender took collateral without the sanction of the court? The verse states: “Hashev tashiv,” to teach that he must return it in any case.

 

״חָבֹל תַּחְבֹּל״, אֵין לִי אֶלָּא שֶׁמִּשְׁכְּנוֹ בִּרְשׁוּת. מִשְׁכְּנוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת, מִנַּיִן? תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר: ״חָבֹל תַּחְבֹּל״, מִכׇּל מָקוֹם.

The Gemara brings another derivation from a compound verb written with regard to returning collateral: “If you take as collateral [ḥavol taḥbol] your neighbor’s garment, you shall restore it to him until the sun sets” (Exodus 22:25). I have derived only the obligation to return his garment before sunset in a case where the lender took collateral with the sanction of the court. From where do I derive the obligation to return his garment each night even in a case where the lender took collateral without the sanction of the court? The verse states: “Ḥavol taḥbol,” to teach that he must return it in any case.

 

  1. מדרש תנאים דברים כד:יח

וזכרת כי עבד הי’ במ’ וכי מה ענין ארץ מצרים לכאן שלא תאמר הריני ממשכן בגד אלמנה בסתר וכי מי מודיע בגלוי אמ’ המקום דעו מה עשיתי במצרים שהיו מעשיהן בסתר ופרסמתים בגלוי והלא הדברים קל וחמר מה אם מדת הפורענות שהיא מעוטה העושה בסתר המקום מפרסמו בגלוי קל וחמר למדת הטוב שהיא מרובה:

 

Dr. Elana Stein Hain is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Passionate about bringing Torah into conversation with contemporary life, she teaches Talmud from the Balcony, an occasional learning seminar exposing the big ideas, questions, and issues motivating Talmudic discussions; she authored Circumventing the Law: Rabbinic Perspectives on Legal Loopholes and Integrity  which uses halakhic loopholes as a lens for understanding rabbinic views on law and ethics; and she co-hosts For Heaven’s Sake, a bi-weekly podcast with Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi, exploring contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish world. Elana has also started TEXTing; a podcast where she and guest scholars study Torah texts that engage issues of the moment for the Jewish world. She lives in Manhattan with her beloved family.


Hadran’s Beyond the Daf shiurim are also available by podcast on

Spotify

Apple Podcasts 

YouTube

Beyond the Daf is where you will discover enlightening shiurim led by remarkable women, delving deep into the intricacies of Talmudic teachings, and exploring relevant and thought-provoking topics that arise from the Daf.

 

Dr. Elana Stein Hain

Dr. Elana Stein Hain is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Passionate about bringing Torah into conversation with contemporary life, she teaches Talmud from the Balcony, an occasional learning seminar exposing the big ideas, questions, and issues motivating talmudic discussions; she authored Circumventing the Law: Rabbinic Perspectives on Legal Loopholes and Integrity (pre-order discount code: PENN-ESHAIN30) which uses halakhic loopholes as a lens for understanding rabbinic views on law and ethics; and she co-hosts For Heaven’s Sake, a bi-weekly podcast with Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi, exploring contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish world. In mid-January, Elana will be starting a new podcast called TEXTing, where she and guest scholars study Torah texts that engage issues of the moment for the Jewish world. She lives in Manhattan with her beloved family.
Scroll To Top